Tomorrow the Hudson River Park Trust is set to vote on a plan by the Related Companies to redevelop Pier 40 on W. Houston Street as a ~$600 million entertainment complex, which would include a permanent home for Cirque du Soleil and the Tribeca Film Festival, and would draw thousands of visitors per day.
Neighborhood residents say the Related plan would ruin the pier’s current use as a park and would bring unwanted auto traffic to the area. According to Community Board 2 member (and Streetsie Activist of the Year) Ian Dutton, the Related plan includes over 10,000 daily vehicle crossings of the Hudson River Greenway. Pier advocates have formed a group called the Pier 40 Partnership, which put together a counter-proposal and has pledged to raise tens of millions of dollars toward a much needed rehab of the pier.
On Sunday, hundreds showed up to protest the Related plan and express support for keeping the pier for neighborhood use. The Times reports:
"We love Pier 40," said Mellora, 14. "We need the fields," added her mother, Bonnie Ansbro. "It builds a sense of community. We don’t want these kids to travel all over the city to play."
"Keep the park a park," said Rich Caccappolo, president of the partnership, whose members include Craig Balsam, a founder of Razor & Tie Entertainment; Chris McGinnis, a real estate developer; and Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist. "It’s not a circus, a performing arts center, or a huge destination that’ll draw 1,000 cars."
The Villager, which probably has the most thorough coverage of the Pier 40 story, last week called on City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and other officials to step in on behalf of the neighborhood.
The community looks to [Quinn’s] for support to save the pier from becoming an extravagant entertainment destination, and to help support the groups that will contribute to creating a low-impact but viable alternative. She needs to tell the Trust she supports the Partnership’s alternative – and, in the strongest terms possible, that Related’s proposal is unacceptable. Speaker Quinn, the community will remember your leadership on this pivotal issue.
Rendering from Pier 40 Partnership via The Villager